Christmas Eve fire claims life of elderly Bremerton woman

BREMERTON Wash. -- An elderly woman was killed in a tragic Christmas Eve apartment fire in Bremerton.

The fire, which broke out on the ground floor of the Madrona Estate Apartments, was limited to only a few apartments, but 40 people were forced to evacuate. The Red Cross is working to make sure everyone has a place to stay.

"It got way too big, way too out of control, way too fast," said fire victim James Herring,

The residents were alerted to the fire by the smoke alarms.

"I immediately tried to put the fire out with a pot full of water and there were other people there with fire extinguishers trying to put it out," Herring said.

There was real urgency because an elderly woman was inside the apartment.

"That's a horrible loss," said resident Carl Berentsen. "We were out there when the fire alarms were going off and it was way, way, way too late."

Herring said residents frantically searched for her and called her name, but they later learned she did not make it out of the building.

"Everybody was screaming her name because they were trying to get her out," said Herring. "We couldn't open the door. The flames were too big."

The investigation is just beginning, but initial reports are that this fire is not suspicious. As fire crews do their work the Red Cross is making sure the displace residents have a place to go for Christmas even though it may just be a motel.